P19 – Exercise 3 – Markmaking Techniques

I tried to be systematic with this exercise. (Probably a hang over from my years as a science teacher!) I investigated fifteen drawing implements and for each I looked at six techniques.

For each implement, I drew

  1. Vertical and sloping lines, starting with ones which were as feint as I could make with very little pressure through to as heavy a pressure as I could achieve.
  2. Shading, again from feint with little pressure through to heavy pressure.
  3. Single line hatching.
  4. Double and triple line cross-hatching.
  5. Three kinds of stippling. In the top left of the fifth box I did feint stippling with the implement barely touching the paper; in the bottom right the pressure was firmer, but I was still only touching the paper to make the dot: between the two, I drew a band of dots with definite firm contact with the paper.
  6. In the final box, I experimented with a technique which was half way between hatching and stippling. I drew dashes rather than continuous lines. I’m not sure this is a technique worth pursuing further.

The fifteen implements I used were:

  1. A 6B Drawing Pencil (in a wooden sleeve)
  2. An 8B Graphite Pencil (with no wooden sleeve)
  3. A Compressed Graphite Stick
  4. A Medium Willow Charcoal Stick
  5. A Crayola Black Wax Crayon
  6. A Faber-Castell Blue Oil Pastel
  7. A Faber-Castell Blue Soft Pastel
  8. A Brown Pastel
  9. A 0.2 Unipin Fine Liner Pen
  10. A Medium-Fine Metal Nibbed Dip Pen and Indian Ink
  11. A Home-made Goose Quill and Indian Ink
  12. A Pilot 0.8 Fine Liner Pen
  13. A Letraset Blue ProMarker “Fine End”
  14. A Letraset Blue ProMarker “Broad End”
  15. A Ball Point Pen.

Comments about the implements.

  • The compressed graphite stick (no. 3) gave a much blacker mark than the pencils or the willow charcoal.
  • I have previously referred to the unlabelled brown pastel (no. 8) as “hard” as I was comparing it with Conte pastels. However the blue pastel (no. 7) is marked as “soft” and the two made almost identical marks apart from the colour.
  • When I sprayed the blue soft pastel (no. 7) with cheap hair spray to fix it, I was surprised that some pink colour dissolved into the spray. This surprised me as I would have expected that if the spray which is full of organic solvents was going to affect anything it would have been the oil pastel (n0. 6) or, possibly, the was crayon. This could lead to problems with fixing pastels on drawings.
  • I used a 0.8 Pilot fine liner pen as I could not find my 0.8 Unipin pen which is better.
  • I bought the Letraset ProMarker to see what marks could be made with it. It has two ends. The “fine” end (which is still quite broad) is pointed; the other end is a traditional wedge shaped marker. Obviously different marks are going to be made depending on which way the wedge is held against the paper. One concern was that the ink from the marker came through the paper. Fortunately I had a piece of scrap under the page.

Comments on the individual marks and individual implements:

  • The 6B drawing pencil and 8B graphite pencil both give good shading, hatching and stippling. They are good drawing implements but are significantly greyer than the compressed graphite stick and the pens.
  • The compressed graphite stick and the willow charcoal stick gave good shading but were too thick to give good hatching.
  • I probably haven’t used crayons since I was in junior school and would normally not have considered them for drawing. However I was pleasantly surprised with the results, particularly the shadings. The crayon was a bit thick though for hatching and stippling. In fact it was difficult to get an even stipple.
  • In the same way, the three pastels gave good shading but were too thick for hatching.
  • On the other hand, the pens  (fine liners, dip pen and quill) gave excellent hatching and stippling, but shading was more difficult (particularly with the quill which gave quite thick lines). They all gave nice black lines which I loved.
  • As with the crayon, I would not normally have considered using a ball point pen for drawing. However I’ve recently seen several drawings on blogs done with ball point pens. As with the other pens, hatching was good.
  • The marker (either end) is really only suitable for Matisse-style broad line drawings.

Marie-Jose en Robe Jaune


About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website johnpindararts.weebly.com
This entry was posted in Art, Drawing 1, OCA, Open College of the Arts. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to P19 – Exercise 3 – Markmaking Techniques

  1. clinock says:

    Great explorations John…(saying this I feel like I’m marking student work again)…

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